11a. Attachment 01

West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions (WSBLE) Brief

Item No: 11a_attach
Meeting Date: April 12, 2022

April 2, 2019 
Ms. Lauren Swift, Central Corridor Environmental Manager
West Seattle Ballard Link Extensions Scoping
401 S Jackson St
Seattle WA 98104
Re: West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions Scoping

On behalf the Port of Seattle (Port) and Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), thank you for the
opportunity to provide scoping comments to begin the NEPA/SEPA environmental review.
In 1911, the Port of Seattle was authorized by the citizens of King County under Chapter 53 of the
Revised Code of Washington to serve as a public port authority, charged with ensuring that Seattle's
deepwater harbor is protected to serve as an economic engine for the region. In 2015, the ports of
Seattle and Tacoma formed a marine cargo operating partnership, the NWSA. The Alliance is the fourth
largest container gateway in North America.
The Port and Alliance operate and maintain the more than $1 billion in investments made into maritime
and industrial operations, and work to protect the tens of thousands of familywage jobs and $4.0 billion
in revenue that these sectors generate for the region and state. The Port and NWSA are assets of
statewide significance, serving as critical gateways for the agricultural producers and manufacturers
across Washington. These gateways cannot be replicated elsewhere and provide a crucial function in the
resiliency of our state's economy. These facilities could be heavily impacted at the south, central, and
north ends of the proposed alignments. No other single agency or entity is similarly impacted, and it is
imperative that all efforts are made to avoid and/or mitigate adverse impacts to these crucial economic
assets wherever possible.
As stated in our early scoping letter, we have three primary objectives for Sound Transit 3 projects:
1. Enhance service to SeaTac Airport for passengers and employees, from a web of cities
throughout the region;
2. Strengthen access to Port facilities, both existing and future developments; and
3. Improve regional transportation for personal mobility, while protecting maritime and
industrial land uses and freight mobility.
We appreciate Sound Transit's broad stakeholder engagement on the development of alternatives for
extensions to West Seattle and Ballard, and the direct engagement of design and planning staff with
agencies in the proposed alignments.

Port of Seattle and NW Seaport Alliance                                                         Page 2
West Seattle Ballard Link Scoping Comments
April 2, 2019

Sound Transit staff has worked closely with Port and NWSA staff to better understand and work towards
addressing concerns near port terminals both during construction and during link light rail operations.
Proposed routes, especially north of the Spokane Street corridor, have the potential to create significant
negative impacts on cargo operations and waterdependent logistic functions, with resulting negative
economic effects across several industries, far beyond the Seattle harbor and King County.
Particularly problematic, the expected impacts during the estimated fiveyear construction period could
damage international container cargo operations and significantly contribute to truck and other traffic in
the already congested Spokane Street corridor. We remain unconvinced that the potential effects,
especially with a route north of the Spokane Street corridor, could be mitigated for the Port, the NWSA,
and other maritime/industrial businesses. From our perspective, this is not sufficiently covered by the
current approach to measuring the economic impacts of the project, yet it is essential in ensuring the
continued economic viability of these businesses.
The accompanying document outlines the areas where a thorough review of proposed alignments is
necessary to determine how they could impact the public benefit the Port and the NWSA are charged
with providing.
West Seattle Segment
Spokane Street Corridor alignments could pose significant economic, environmental and
operational impacts not only to Port and NWSA facilities, but to maritime industrial businesses
that must have waterfront access to survive. Proposed alignments must ensure those facilities
remain fully operational during and after construction, while ensuring access for trucks and rail
serving those facilities. A crossing north of the Spokane Street must be given a thorough review
to ensure that the cost estimates as well as impacts are accurately gauged.
Please evaluate Duwamish crossing alignment slightly farther south than that considered in the
representative alignment, across the far southern tip of Harbor Island, to determine if this
alignment may present opportunities to further reduce impacts to existing businesses.
Interbay/Ballard Segment
Moveable bridges across the ship canal may have significant impacts on maritime mobility as
well as transit, and the cost, operational, and environmental effects should be studied as part of
the environmental review process.
Smith Cove station location will have significant impacts to ridership, with the location on the
west side of the corridor appearing to serve more developed land uses, and capturing potential
riders from Port properties, including employees and cruise passengers.
Thank you for your invitation to the Port to serve as a Cooperating Agency and to the NWSA as a
Participating Agency, roles we believe will further ongoing cooperation between our agencies. We have
expressed our interest in entering into a partnership agreement to define roles and responsibility in how
the agencies will work together on project planning and environmental documentation.

Port of Seattle and NW Seaport Alliance                                                         Page 3
West Seattle Ballard Link Scoping Comments
April 2, 2019

We ask that these impacts effects be fully vetted through the environmental review process, and that
the Board designate a route alignment with a southern crossing of the Spokane Street corridor as the
preferred alternative. Please reference our detailed scoping comments attached. Thank you for your
consideration and we look forward to our continued involvement.

Stephen P. Metruck                                 John Wolfe
Executive Director                                     Chief Executive Officer
Port of Seattle                                            Northwest Seaport Alliance

Attach A  Technical Comments
Attach B  POS  Cooperating agency acceptance
Attach C  NWSA  Participating agency acceptance
Attach D  POS/NWSA Early Scoping comments, March 2018
Attach E  POS/NWSA Level 2 comments Sept 2018

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